Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?


If given the opportunity, I would tell my senior self that you need to understand that sometimes life does not always go your way. Additionally, I’d remind myself to not forget what you believe. The reason I would give this to myself is I had surgery in the first week of my first semester. This seriously altered my expected college experience. It was difficult to transition. I found myself facing difficulties beyond those of other college freshman. However, I did get placed in settings that other freshman experience. Those including having the option to potentially redefine who I would be viewed as. From what I have experienced, it is best to hang onto your beliefs and values. With there being so many other new variables, holding onto what is definitive greatly effects you. This advice would have better grounded my senior self when transitioning into college.


As a freshman, I have learned much about college life and making the transition that would have been helpful to me as a high school senior. The first piece of advice I would give to myself back then is to be more involved in the community. A College campus is one big commmunity in which the students work together to achieve common goals. The skills associated with successfully doing this would have easily been obtained if I had done more for my community. The second piece of advice I would give myself is to take on leadership positions. In college, I have realized how important leadership skills are when it comes to finding internships, joining organizations and even organizing study groups. The third piece of advice I would give myself is to not be afraid to ask for help. Starting college, I was shocked at the fast pace of classes. Because I never found the need to get help before college, I figured I could do this on my own. I was wrong. Professors have office hours and there are tutoring programs. Never do it on your own. Get the help that is offered and utilize the university's resources.


After a year at college, there are many things that I would tell my high school senior self. The most important peice of advice I would give would be to be true to yourself. You cannot let what other people want from you shape how you live your life. Find your own, personal, internal motivation for every task you undertake. It is your life, not your parent's, professor's, or friend's. This is important because happiness will not come from making others content with how you are living your life, no matter how much you do not want to disappoint them. Similarly, I would tell myself that although college is a time for self exploration, and self re-creation, stay true to yourself. Even if you are trying out a new image for yourself, you still have every right to do what makes you happy. Whether it is staying in on a Friday night, or saying no to the boy who wants to take you to formal. The only things you will regret are the decisions you made while you were lying to yourself. A year wiser, I hope I can follow my own advice.


I would tell myself not to save more money along the way, pick up more summer jobs, get a job at school. I would also tell myself to be who I really am the entire time. It may be scary at first to be yourself but it is worth it for everyone else to know exactly who you are. In college take and abuse every opportunity handed to me, there are so many opportunities that will never arise in our life again so just do it.


As a 28-year old, this is what I would YELL to myself as a high-schooler: You are smart, you are beautiful, you are strong and you have everything you need in life to succeed! Do not focus on the pressure to go to college right away, because you need to figure out your passion in life first....then you will know exactly where you want to be in life and you will find your purpose. P.S. You are awesome!


It's ok to go into college without knowing exactly what you want to study, just to get most prerequistes out of the way. When you become aware of what you want to major in, make sure your heart is in it so that your motivated to succeed. Save money and register for scholarships even if you receive finacial aid. Financial aid will run out some point in your schooling. In college no one holds your hand, to show that your serious, it is up to you to reach out for any kind of help necessary. Build a bond with professors, you will need recommendations if you wish to transfer colleges in the future, or apply for scholarships. Get involved with extracurricular school activites, it is a fun way to meet others, also it can make your scholarship essay or resume stand out.


Education has been always my friend. When I was child I was always the first one in my classes. In other words, I was always getting the better grades. That always motived me. I've never stopped to dream and to study. I find delight learning. My only desire was to learn as much I can. I always wanted to use my knowledge helping others. I did not find myself doing other things but this in the future. Later or sooner, you will do the same for others, helping them to find ways to study because when you are helped, you feel the need to help others. If other people are helping you to complete your university studies, then you need to do your best and make a difference among others; doing your best, studying hard, and learning as much you can during your college time. Albert Einstein once said, I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. Therefore, I'm a believer that education is a gift we get if we love to study. Keep studying; you will see how you will succeed in the future. Never stop! Your best weapon is the optimism. Believe in yourself.


Rabbine, You're not too concerned with the future and you don't think too much about college. It's been easy up until this point and I want to caution you, that is about to change. No longer will you be able to slide by doing mediocre work and slacking off on your studies, which I know you’re doing that at this moment. You will have to work and study harder than you ever had before in order to succeed, since it hasn’t been required much for you in the past. Turn the off the T.V. and study more often, especially math. Your career path may be different, so read more and get better at writing; it’s not just for the career field but for college classes too. Those two things will make things easier in the long run, but it is still important to do well in all your classes. A last note, when you enter college take five classes instead of four. Just trust me. Now stop reading, turn off the T.V. and start studying.


College won't be nearly as hard as you think it will be, just spend a little more time studying when you don't have a test in the next three days and you should be good. Pledging Phi Sig was an awesome decision, you won't regret it. Apply a little more to that too, you'll enjoy being higher ritual.


Transitioning to college from high school is a completely new experience, especially when you move to a new state. This past year, I moved to a different state to attend college and now I am wishing I could go back in time. There are so many things I would have told myself as a high school senior so that I would be better prepared for college. One thing I would have told myself was to apply for more scholarships. I earned a few scholarships for this school year, but since I have to pay out-of-state tuition, they weren't enough. I didn't realize how expensive college was until I started having to pay for my own schooling. I also would have told myself to take more college credit courses while still in high school. I graduated high school with about 20 college credits, but I wish I took more, that way I would be even more ahead. If I could go back in time, I would tell my high school self to be more proactive with my future education. I would tell myself to stop being so lazy because my hard work now will pay off later!


You need to take better advantage of scholarship opportunities so that you can do college cheaper. Also study a little bit more so that your parents will be more lax and let you go out more, more importantly don't be stupid.


Dear John, I know you are 17 now, and you don’t know much about what the real world is like. I know you are filled with ambition and potential, but lack the drive to realize your dreams. You are spoiled, naive, and you think that you are entitled to things that you have not yet earned. You think you are working hard, but you are not. When you are 22, you will leave college in a frustrated explosion, with only 200 dollars, a sleeping bag, and a lot of idealism about life. You will spend a year and a half walking, biking and hitch-hiking up the west coast of the United States, from Mexico to Canada. You will struggle. You will be hungry, tired and cold. You will be overwhelmed. You will become disconnected from society. But you will endure. You will learn strength. You will learn courage, and you will learn what life is about. After this journey, you will finally have the drive you need to get everything you’ve ever wanted out of life. Be kind, have faith, and continue to believe in yourself. You are special. Trust me. I know you well. Love, John


If i could go back to High School I would be more involved in activites. I would try my hardest to maintain more classes in the medical school such as R.O.P. Incurage myself to go forward to do and enjoy high school and what is given to me. I would of applied for scholorships sooner, and get my mine set up for college. Have a job and be going to school. I would also get more help from my teachers and cansulors for advise on what classes to take. Not goof off in class or get destracted for little things.


Work your hardest and never give up. Keep your head focus on a narrow path so you dont get distracted.


My freshman semester, I overloaded on difficult classes, pledged a service fraternity, accepted Associate News Editor Position at the Polytechnic and took an EMT-B class. All of these experiences allowed for the making of long-lasting friendships with ‘brothers’ that still inspire me, exposure to shocking emergencies as part of RPI Ambulance, and late nights in the Student Union putting through front page layouts only to be harassed by copyeditors over orphan words. Sadly, that first year of college was a blur of activity that was torment on my grades that semester. I let myself be too easily and quickly drawn into the possibilities of college life, having largely lived a studious and academic existence in high school of debate team, robotics and forensics club. If I could advice myself about making the transition now I would tell myself to take one thing at a time. Looking back on my college experience now after having completed my Bachelors and Masters of Science in four years, I reconsider my efforts. Life is never a race. Ample time should be taken to relish the simple things in life: Celebrate your victory over a brutal 14 hour take-home-exam.


Making a transition to college involves two types of changes: adapting to a new academic environment and a new way of learning, and developing a new social life. In college the professor does not “hold your hand” the whole way through the learning process as high school teachers do. Professors will not seek out students who are receiving low marks; students are responsible for knowing when they need help and seeking help. I would advise myself to ask questions if I am confused. It is ok to go to the professor’s office hours or ask a friend for help. The average college student spends only 15 hours per week in class. This leaves a lot more time for college students to do what they whatever they want as oppose to high school students. I would advise myself to join a club because this allows students to form a group of friends who all share a common interest. Having a close group of friends makes every aspect of the transition to college easier, which makes developing new friendships crucial for the college experience.


If i could go back in time and talk to myself i would tell myself to study alot and to go to alot of study sessions. I would also tell myself to stay focused and keep my head in the books. And that what you learn in high school will get you far in the future and in college. And to keep up your grade point average and study alot to take the Psat because that test is very important.Your grade point average is something that a college wants to see so they know what kind of peron they are excepting. I also would tell my self that just because you have an IEP does not mean that you cant learn like everyone else. In addition to making a college transition from high school, college has taught me independence for my future. independence is part of growing up and when you start college you are no longer a child because you are going to school with adults. and lastly before you get excepted into college definitly work on getting scholarships because continueing your education is very important but at the same time education definitly comes with a price tag.


You made the good choice in colleges. Keep up your rigourous study habits and you will succeed, but remember budget time for fun and friends.


My advice to myself would be to not concern myself so much with my social life. When I first entered RPI, the foremost thought on my mind was about making friends, rather than doing well in classes. While I have made friends, I feel like I could have easily done so with less worry and less fretting about it; the process of making friends occurs naturally, albeit gradually, in college. I met one of my best friends in the world at RPI along with many other good friends and acquaintances. School work, however, requires more thought and attention; good grades do not simply naturally occur.


I have been interested in making films for several years now, but it wasn't until I started attending school that I realized how little I knew. After the video and audio classes I took, I have been able to apply my newfound knowledge to three community service projects for churches I am in connection with. At my church in Troy, NY, I have been able to run a soundboard during the musical portion of their Wednesday night College Outreach program, named "Compelled". Without the audio class I had just finished taking, I would not have been as qualified to aid with this program. As of right now, I have been able to use my new video skills to do two separate projects in my home church and my brother's church, with a third movie in the works. I hope to continue to learn do these projects as the years go by, and without the experience I gained through this past semester, it would not have been possible.


My college experience has been very valuable for several reasons. Firstly, it has taught me a lot about taking care of my possessions and maintaining my health without any supervision. I have learned much about the value of keeping organized and keeping track of everything that is going on. More importantly, I have learned a lot about the value of working hard. After finishing high school with a minimum amount of work, I thought I could continue on in the same way at college. I was horribly wrong. Because of that, not only am I stuck having to retake my most hated class, but I also am not eligible for the majority of scholarships because of my GPA. If I had just done all of my work the first time, i not only would have been free of my worst class, but I would also have been able to apply for more scholarships and lighten the financial burden of attending college. These very immediate effects have taught me a lot about the valuabe nature of hard work and I will definitely not be repeating these same mistakes next semester.


In my college experience, I have learned way more than I expected. Subjects that I once found dull are now interesting. Different classes are helping me find what I'm passionate about, thus helping me choose my career. The importance of time management and prioritizing have also solidified with college. College not only gives you the experience and knowledge you need for different careers, but also is an exciting ,new environment to meet people. Just being able to be merged in with people from different backgrounds is an eye opener to what there is yet to learn. It makes you aware of the different opportunities that are available. It is a work load and a hefty amount of money to pay, but what you learn and experience makes it all worth it.


I have learned to appreciate my parents a lot for all their help and financial support allowing me to go to such a great school. I think the "college experience" is something everyone should participate in; it differs from high school so greatly and people really become adults here and learn how to act and behave in the real world. I still have four years left of school and I'm already planning for my future and I appreciate that college has beaten this work ethic and motivation into me.


I started off at a community college with a completely different major than what I'm planning to transfer into Point Park University with. I plan to major in Technical Theater and Design. My first year at the community college is still valuable to me because I was able to get my feet wet in the college class room before moving on to the university. I know now what to expect when I get there.


I've learned that it is extremely difficult to live with so many people my age, all with similar interests to mine, and find enough time to sleep. But I've also found that it's rewarding being able to collaborate with others who may or may not know things I don't, being able to boince around ideas for projects, and being able to gather tons of people to play a massive game of spoons on a Saturday night (one of the most fun, if not rewarding, experiences so far). All in all, college is a blast. And we get a hint of the real-world (what with the tuition fees to pay, as well as the on-campus job opportunities that most of us take).


I have recently moved out of my parents home, and realizing the skills it takes to live on your own. I have learned the valuable lesson of patience. Santa Monica College taught me to wait for the progression. A flower takes a while to blossom.


I have gained information about life and the world around my little bubble. It is valuable to attend college, because it opens doors that would normally be closed to an African American woman. College is and will continue to give me the tools that I need to build a better future, not only for me and my family, but my community.


From my college experience I have learned many things. One of the biggest things is to get what you want you need to work hard and not be afraid of a challenge. That is what college is, it is a challenge. I never believed when people said that they weren't cut out for college until I went myself, I now understand how hard it is and that many people aren't cut out for it. College isn’t just a learning challenge either; it has challenged me in many more ways. For me attending college is not only one of the first times that I have been away from home for an extended period but it is also the first time i have needed to take care of myself. This is one of the steps to becoming a true adult. Also college has taught me the value in true friendship, it did not take me long to realize that it is true when people say the friends you make in college are the ones you keep with you. It is valuable to learn all of these things in your life, therefore college is valuable to attend.


Coming into school all of my class was warned that we would have to study and study a lot. Most of us attending RPI were used to not having to study so much in high school because things just came a little easier to most. Man, do I wish I took that warning to heart. After the first round of tests I was in for a rude awakening, as I got my exam grades back and saw percentages much lower than the 90?s I was used to seeing in high school. After a little while I figured things out more and more, and after my first year of college I think what I learned best was work ethic. I had to completely change my mind set. If I want something, I know I have to focus on that and get it myself. If I have to do something and at the time I?m working on it and it is just extremely hard then I just have to get in my mind that people do stuff like this every day. And if other people do this, then I can do it.


My college experience has been interesting. I am a returning college student and I have even met students who are much older than I am who are returning to school after a break. I have learned many different things about myself from my experience at college. I have learned that I have the drive to succeed in any task that I want and I also have learned that college is not hard as long as you make the time. Procrastination is not a quality that a college student should have and any procrastination attitudes that I had are completely gone since I've been in college. It has been valuable for me to attend college because they are preparing me with skills that I will need to complete my future career path and they are also giving me valuable tools that I will need to complete my graduate studies.


I have learned how to do many things throguh my college experoence. first of this was my first ever time away from home, ajusting to life without parental supervison 24/7 was a large step. i learned how to function as an indivdual in society, i became more self relieant. More indepentant. i learned how to do things on my own and for myself.


Be your own person, well you don't really understand that until you find yourself. And that process could take a lifetime. People are compex and unexplainable. But all in all, trust your gut.


If I could have talked to myself as a high school senior, I would have told myself to take Calculus and other classes for college credit so that not only would I have entered college with more credit, I would also be better adjusted to the workload and been more challenged while in high school. I would also encourage myself to be less critical of my work. During my first semster of college, I was completely miserable because I was intimidated by my better-prepared classmates and by the advanced level of my classes in general. I often had anxiety attacks and got myself all worked up if my grades were less than perfect. Throughout the semester I learned how to control my anxiety and to stop comparing myself to others. Once I accepted my imperfection, it was much easier to get through my classes and I began to enjoy myself. Once I learned to let go of things, like the occasional bad grade, I was able to have fun and obtain the "full" college experience, balancing school, extracurriculars and friends. Despite a bad start, I survived first semester and got grades I was very proud of.


I actually wouldn't go back in time. I know I overanalyze things a lot depending on the content of the discussion, however I'm happy with the transition between high school and college.


High School is a place where it is easy for people to be set in their ways and stay that way. If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell him to be open to more things and people than he would accept after graduation. There is so much that can be learned from people with different backgrounds and situations that are unexpected which you would never anticipate, and college is a place (especially as a freshman) when these kind of events take place almost every day. Looking back on my transitional phase from graduating high school to moving into a dorm with two strangers makes me think that if I just tried to be open to more people and things around campus, I may have been much better off in the end. I was able to get by on my knowledge and social skills throughout my first year at school, but I still had plenty of shyness leftover from my previous practice in high school of being weary of new people. This idea helped me gain a greater appreciation for the world around me through situations and people I know.


First and foremost, I would tell myself that in order to get the most out of you college experience and education you MUST learn to handle all of your newly acquired freedom responsibly. Naturally, your first wish is to make new friends, go to parties, and explore the surrounding cities, while almost completely ignoring your academic obligations. But you've got to realize that, while it is a time to mature and even develop lasting relationships, your main priority is to receive the fullest college education you possibly can. If you havent already learned proper study habits and work ethic, now is the time to buckle down and do so; parties, friends, guys, they will all still be there after you finish college. So resist the urge to put off school work in lieu of pursuing a social life that could be a thousand times more enjoyable with a degree or two from a presitigious institution under your belt. And of course within all of this, dont forget who you are. Despite the widely varying, and horribly influential, habits of those around you, stay strong and remain tue to your established character and set of morals. Oh, and good luck!


If I could go back and talk to myself as a highschool senior, I would tell myself the importance of studying and asking for help. In high school I never needed to study, and by senior year I had almost stopped caring. I knew I could pass the test, so what was the point of studying? Once I got to college it took me a little bit to change this mentality and the first few tests I had were very hard. I had trouble sitting down and finding the drive I needed to do my homework. I just did not want to put forth effort because I had never had to in the past. If I had better study habbits as a student in high school, studying would not be such a challange when I got to college. Now that I have shaped up a bit, I study every day and get help when I need it. Even in highschool where I felt I knew my teachers better, I was afraid to ask for help. Nothing is more important than asking for help when you need it, your proffessors want you to do well; they will help if you ask.


In order to match compatible roommates, colleges ask students to fill out questionnaires about their individual study habits, sleep schedules, music preferences, and traits such as neatness. I answered that I like to study in my dorm with some music , go to bed a little late, and considered myself somewhat neat. Unfortunately, I ended up with two roommates who never study, never go to sleep until 4am, and leave so much clutter that it is impossible to walk across the room without stepping on something. One of them has a desktop computer that he leaves on constantly, a television, an Xbox system and a WII complete with a drum set that he keeps in front of my bed. (He is on the top bunk.) The other one sleeps all day instead of going to classes and rarely showers or changes his sheets. I will soon be applying for my dorm for next year. On the questionnaire I am going to answer that I need absolute quiet to study, I go to bed very early in the evening, and I have an obsessive-compulsive disorder for neatness and cleanliness.


I would love to visit myself as I was two years ago, when I was preparing to take the next step in my life. I would tell myself to befriend people different from what I was used to and to balance social life with academic life. When in high school, I was friends with students who shared my race and economic position. It was so easy to look past other people and their cultures and situations. When I got to college, the population was so diverse it would have been difficult not making friends who came from a completely different background than me. Adjusting would have gone so much smoother had I only opened my eyes earlier. Another mistake I made in high school was viewing my education as a way to get into college. I focused so much on my studies, clubs, and sport involvement that it was difficult to have any social life. Balancing learning and socializing was a skill I wish I had developed sooner. For college, I would encourage myself to still enjoy volunteering and other clubs, but keep in mind friends and a social life are an essential part of the college experience.


Well, I personally would kick myself in the butt and tell myself to get into good studying habits ahead of the game. See when I was in high school I developed a very poor studying habit; Somehow I had passed the years without even opening a text book for the purpose of studying, yet managed to become salutatorian of my class. However in college I found rather quickly this needed to change. Not only studying skills, I would've convinced myself to become more organized and "write things down" as my dad has always told me. This advice is what helped me pass this year, bringing all my grades up to just above the criteria, and due to this I need to try even harder the second semester to raise my rather low GPA. Other advice I would've given myself would be to apply to every scholarship available to me, because no matter how much you gain a little more never hurt. One more piece of advice I most definately would've given would be to prepare for a whole new life style and to trust me, it's going to be fun ride.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself my senior year I would tell me how important it is to make a budget. Also how important it is to sit down and study starting the first night of classes. Going to professor office hours isn't as scary as you think it is, so take advantage of it. The professors are very understanding and willing to help. Also, try eating a bit healthier; the cookies are really good, but so is the fruit. Don't forget to talk with your advisor. He is really helpful when it comes to planning for future classes. Try taking his advice now and going to hockey games and such with friends to let your brain breathe. Too much studying doesn't help. Try to have fun, too, it really will be better than high school.


In my current situation I have graduated high school, but have not yet paid for college tuition. Although, I have taken the proper testing, met with an advisor to go over an appropriate schedual, and am enrolled as a student my financial situation has kept me from entering school. If I could go back in time to tell myself anything in high school it would be to apply for scholarships and financial aid now! This is your future and nobody is going to make this path, but you. The people who you think will be there and help along will not and the ones that will only will to an extent, the ball is in your hands its up to you to score.


Dear Maureen, Congratulations: you are embarking on a new experience in your life. In light of this new chapter, remember to stay true to the values that got you through high school and into college. Embrace what sets you apart from peers; appreciate keeping your social life at school and devoting your time away from school to homework. Although it might bring you grief now, it has helped bring achievements and has nurtured your ?get-it-done? mindset. Now that you are entering a new environment, keep this focus on academics. Be social and get involved in activities, but remember that at the end of the day, in order to excel as you intend, you will have to attend to your studies. Your strong work ethic has always served you well ? keep it up! This will help you avoid stress and loss of sleep. However, if you do veer slightly off your path, do not beat yourself up; simply recognize your mistakes and be grateful you learned from them early in your college career. You have a bright future of success ahead of you ? you just need to stay true to the values that you hold dear. Sincerely, Maureen




In recent years competition to get into college has become so rigorous that simply being accepted into one is rendered a significant accomplishment. Unfortunately, this causes many students to define success by the college they get into. Bear in mind that attending college is not success, but a trail to it. Whether you attend your top choice university or not, make sure you do not underestimate freshman year. The change in lifestyle and new social scheme can be distracting; work hard and keep your goal in focus. College is expensive! Use the free time you have at the end of senior year to apply to scholarships. The summer after high school is valuable time; save some of it for yourself and spend the rest wisely. College is Pandora?s Box of opportunities, many of which come from your professors. Be sure to talk to your instructors; they are very resourceful and can help you make the most of your education. Lastly and most importantly, do not procrastinate! This is a golden warning that too few heed. You may get away with procrastinating in the beginning, but it will catch up to you. Overall, college is quite the experience, so enjoy!


Participate in more school events because high school is just the beginning of a long education path that'll take me to a career that I ultimately will choose. Do things in high school for my own interest and inclination, and not for the sole purpose of "looking good" on college applications. Prepare to have the needed interpersonal skills to deal with many problems and challenges of college residence life. Social life is an important part of the high school to college transition and an even more important part of becoming an adult.


Get involved with clubs and other activities. It is a great way to meet new people and start friendships that will last. Don't just attend club meetings, talk to the officers and help while you are in college. Make sure to search for scholarships to cover most of the costs of college. Don't give up on finding good scholarships. Writing lots of essays may be seem boring and a waste of time, but they are a big help and well worth every second spent on applying.


Take all the opportunities presented to you, don't stay too focused on one area.


Get a social life


I would tell myself to get off my high horse. After I left high school and came to college I really did think that I was the man. I rarely studied and learned most material on my own outside of classes. I decided that I would not fix what I thought was not broken. I was gravely incorrect. My 1.54 for my first college semester proves that. I would tell myself what everyone was telling me but I took for granted - College is not high school. I would inform me of the mistakes I made and also provide myself with ways in which to avoid or fix those mistakes. I have already emplyed some of the things I would tell my high school senior self and they have paid off exponentially. I would tell myself to grow up. I needed to then and I wish someone had told me. I could have saved myself from the brick wall that I hit in my first semester in college.

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